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                                        News & Views Monday 14th April to Sunday 20th April 2014

A Third of Immigration Arrests Lead to Deportation

Just over a third of immigration arrests following tip-offs from the public resulted in deportation in 2013, the Home Office has revealed. Figures show 4,535 arrests were made for immigration offences after allegations by members of the public. Of these, 1,585 people were removed from Britain, and only 15 cases prompted criminal prosecutions. Labour said it showed the government "can't get a grip on illegal immigration". Shadow immigration minister David Hanson, who obtained the figures in a written parliamentary answer from immigration minister James Brokenshire, described the figures as "a shocking record and one that the government should be ashamed of". Read more: BBC News, 16/04/14


Guardian Force Serco to Hand Over Documents for Inspection

NAB v Serco Ltd & Anor [2014] EWHC 1225 (QB) (16 April 2014)

1) Guardian News and Media Ltd ("the Guardian") apply under CPR 31.22(1) for a declaration that NAB, the Claimant in a civil action against Serco Limited and others, may lawfully supply the Guardian with a copy of a document disclosed by Serco in those proceedings; or alternatively for permission to have the document supplied to them by the Claimant's solicitors. Serco resist the application and in the alternative cross-apply for an order under CPR 31.22(2) prohibiting the Claimant and her solicitors from supplying the document to the Guardian or others.

Conclusion: 42) The only other risk of harm is to the reputation of Serco. Even that risk can be exaggerated. The particulars of claim filed on behalf of NAB and other pleadings are public documents subject to inspection as of right under CPR 5.4C (1). The fact of the allegations having been made is therefore in the public domain.

43) The Guardian has a proper journalistic purpose in seeking to inspect a document which they believe may throw light on whether or not the allegation was properly investigated. I decline to make an order under CPR 31.22 (2). On the basis of the undertaking set out in the last paragraph, the Guardian should be allowed access to the report and should be free to publish its contents.
http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/QB/2014/1225.html


Tascor Guilty of Humiliating Detainees @ Luton/Stansted Airports

Unannounced inspections by HMCIP

Both airports have 'Short Term Holding Facilities' (STHF) that hold passengers subject to investigation by Border Force immigration officers and those who are to be removed from the UK, having been refused entry. A number of detainees are held following transfer from another place of detention in the UK. The facility is run on behalf of Border Force by the private security contractor, Tascor.

Inspectors were concerned to find detainees arriving at either facility from other places of detention in the UK were handed to facility staff at the front of the airport in full public view. Detainees were then taken into the facility in handcuffs, again in full public view.

Stansted: At our last inspection, we made 29 recommendations, of which nine had been achieved, two partially achieved and 18 not achieved.

Luton: At our last inspection we made 32 recommendations, of which 19 had been achieved, one partially achieved, 11 not achieved and one was no longer relevant.

PDFs of both reports available, Email if you want them


Blind Bisexual Asylum Seeker Beaten/Assaulted by Escorts

Manchester's Gay Church, the Metropolitan Church, is supporting Alain Tchatchue, a vulnerable blind asylum seeker from Cameroon who is seeking protection in the UK due to his bisexuality.

Despite having a legal claim currently being processed by the Home Office, immigration staff took him to Heathrow in the early hours of Saturday 5 April in an attempt to deport him

The Church claims Mr Tchatchue was "given a beating" during the process. It said Mr Tchatchue protested that he had a legal right to remain in the UK. It's alleged staff "botched" an attempt to handcuff Mr Tchatchue, causing an injury to his arm.

The Church stated: "The staff then became frustrated and started to punch Alain's wrists and, then, his upper torso in an effort to make him submit. This blind man was then put to the floor, tied with robe like an animal and had pressure applied to his neck. He was bundled into a van and taken to the plane and the assault continued in the van. Eventually the staff realised Alain was too ill to travel and he was returned to Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre."
Read more: Pink News, <>12/04/14


Nigeria - Rush Hour Bomb Kills 71
Suspicion fell on Boko Haram, though there was no immediate claim of responsibility from the Islamists who are mainly active in the north-east. As well as 71 dead, 124 were wounded in the first attack on the capital in two years. Security experts suspected the explosion came from inside a vehicle, according to Air Commodore Charles Otegbade, the director of search?and-rescue operations. The bus station, five miles south-west of central Abuja, serves Nyanya, a poor, ethnically and religiously mixed satellite town, many of whose residents work in the city.
Read more: Indpendent, <> 14/04/14


Asylum Seekers (Support)

Sarah Teather (Brent Central) (LD) (Urgent Question): To ask the Secretary of State if she will make a statement on support provided to meet the essential living needs of asylum seekers under sections 95 and 98 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.

The Minister for Security and Immigration (James Brokenshire): Asylum seekers are supported by the Home Office if they are destitute. The support package usually consists of accommodation, with gas, electricity, water and other utilities provided free, plus a weekly cash allowance to cover essential living needs. The cash allowance is currently £36.62 a week for a single adult, but it is higher in cases where there are children in the household. A family of two adults and two children would receive approximately £180 a week.

The Government completed a full review of payment levels in June 2013. The review concluded that the levels were sufficient to meet essential living needs. That decision was challenged in the courts by Refugee Action, a group that campaigns for asylum seekers, and the court issued its judgment yesterday. It decided that there were some errors in the way in which the 2013 review had been conducted. It found, for example, that items such as household cleaning products and non-prescription medicines should have been considered as essential and therefore factored into the overall assessment of the adequacy of the payment levels. The court did not decide that the current payment levels were too low. That question will be considered by the Government in a fresh review of the payment levels. We are of course considering the full implications of the judgment, and whether or not to appeal.


 

It's Déjà Vu as France Targets Roma for Eviction
Francois Hollande's administration promised a fairer approach for Roma than the previous ruling party's. But a leaked internal order instructing police officers in Paris' wealthy sixth arrondissement(district) to locate and "systematically evict" Roma living on the streets of the area suggests that, in practice, little has changed.

The problem is that yesterday's leaked order bears a striking resemblance to a notorious interior ministry circular from 2010, during Nicolas Sarkozy's presidency, ordering prefects to systematically dismantle unauthorized camps – prioritizing those inhabited by Roma. The order was linked to mass expulsions of Roma EU citizens from France to Romania and Bulgaria.
Read more: Human Rights Watch, <> 16/04/14


UN Inspection of Yarl's Wood Blocked Claim Campaigners

Rashida Manjoo United Nations Special rapporteur, who travelled across the UK during a 16-day fact-finding mission into violence against women, said she was barred at the gates of Yarl's Wood immigration detention centre on instructions "from the highest levels of the Home Office". She told reporters she was deeply concerned at her exclusion "because if there was nothing to hide, I should have been given access".

Manjoo had received reports of violations at the privately run Yarl's Wood centre, near Bedford, before her visit to the UK and wanted to verify allegations of abuse. Last month a Jamaican woman, Christine Case, 40, died at the centre, which holds about 400 women.

After repeated unsuccessful requests to the Home Office, the investigator attempted an independent visit to Yarl's Wood. "When I reached Yarl's Wood I was notified by the director that she had received a phone call [saying] I would not be allowed in," Manjoo said. "She indicated that the call was from the highest levels of the Home Office but would not give me a name or share written information on who had given the instruction.
Read more: The Guardian, <> 15/04/14


Labour MP to Raise Case Of Ugandan Lesbian Asylum Seeker

John Cryer MP has intervened in the case of a lesbian asylum seeker living in east London who is facing deportation to Uganda. Campaigners say Flora Seggane fled the country in 2002 and moved to the UK on a two-year working visa after being disowned by her family because of her sexual orientation. The 55-year-old claims her family previously tried to "cure" her with medicines and she was forced into marriage at the age of 18, enduring 20 years of abuse at the hands of her husband. Ms Seggane, who lives in Leyton, east London, is currently being held in an immigration removal centre and faces fast-track deportation. She was detained after recently applying for asylum.
Read more: Pink News, <>14/04/14


Have You Been Waiting for a Decision From UKBA?
You are not alone, many asylum seekers have been waiting for interviews and decisions from the UKBA in Glasgow. Open meeting 4-6pm Thursday 17th APRIL 2014:
For all asylum seekers who are waiting for interviews or decisions from the Home Office - Come and discuss how we can campaign to make things better for us.

At the CCA, 350 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, G2 3JD (upstairs in the Electron Club) - All asylum seekers and their supporters welcome!

More details: The Unity Centre, 30 Ibrox Street, Glasgow G51 1AQ Tel: 0141 427 7992
info@unitycentreglasgow.org <http://www.unitycentreglasgow.orgPractical support and solidarity to all asylum seekers and migrants in Scotland.


Asylum Seekers by the Numbers Only Tell Part of the Story
Politicians in many well-to-do countries speak in exaggerated terms about being threatened by potential hordes of refugees as they make populist appeals that feed on fears and prejudices. The truth is that the less-developed countries, many of them with significant problems of their own, bear a much heavier burden. The United Nations refugee agency's new annual statistical report, "Asylum Trends 2013," highlights the challenges asylum seekers present to what it characterizes as "industrialized countries."
Read more: Human Rights Watch, <> 14/04/14


Children's Commissioner 'Children let Down by Asylum System'

A report published 10th April by the Office of the ChildrenÕs Commissioner reveals that some children who arrive alone in the UK seeking asylum face a struggle to get their voices heard in a system designed to deal with adults. Children and young people who claim asylum are placed in the care system until they turn 18 but if their claims fail they are then required to leave the UK. This interrupts their education and disrupts their lives. Having learned English and settled in the UK, they are then asked to return to countries they have not seen since childhood, where languages are spoken which they may not be able to write.

The Refugee Council says the report shows the uncertainty these young people face as their stay in the UK progresses, causing them stress and anxiety. The report recommends that they should be provided greater stability whilst in education or training, making them better equipped to establish themselves when they are then made to leave the UK. The ChildrenÕs CommissionerÕs report recommends that this group of young peopleÕs permission to remain should be aligned with care leaving legislation to allow them to complete their education or training.
Read more: Ekklesia, <>11/04/14


Asylum-Seeker Subsistence Payments Defeat For Government

The home secretary, Theresa May, has been ordered to review the level of benefits paid to asylum seekers after the high court ruled that she acted unlawfully in freezing essential living needs payments.

The ruling is a victory for the charity Refugee Action, which campaigns to increase the support provided to those awaiting decisions about whether they can settle in Britain. Single asylum-seekers currently receive £36.62 a week, a sum that has not changed since 2011.

The judge, Mr Justice Popplewell, rejected as irrational the home secretary's decision last June not to raise essential needs payments and ordered her to announce a new benefit level by 9 August. The Home Office was also told to pay £40,000 in legal costs.

"She [May] failed to take reasonable steps to gather sufficient information to enable her to make a rational judgment in setting the asylum support rates for 2013-2014," Popplewell said in his judgment.

There are estimated to be more than 23,000 asylum-seekers in Britain, who having fled war, torture and persecution but are denied the right to work. The case is an embarrassing political setback for the government, which has been seeking to limit benefit rises and the availability of legal aid to non-British citizens.
Read more: Owen Bowcott, theguardian.com, <> 09/04/14


 

Last updated 17 April, 2014